Conservative Kay S Hymowitz On 'Manning Up' In A Modern World

Image | Erin Patrice O’Brien for The Wall Street JournalRedTracker|  For starters, Manhattan Institute Scholar, contributing editor of City Journal and Conservative pundit Kay S. Hymowitz doesn’t look anything like the photo above.

Hymowitz, author of two books on childhood, family issues, poverty and cultural change in America will see her third ‘Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boyspublished on March 1.

The visual image above of Kay S. Hymowitz suggests a career-minded, bitchy feminist 30-year-old woman who wants to know why today’s young men just can’t get it together.

In reality, based on her excellent interview in today’s WSJ ‘Where Have the Good Men Gone?’ the author Hymowitz is a grey-haired women of a certain age, mother of three grown children and living with her husband in Brooklyn.

Photoshopping a generation from Kay Hymowitz’s looks sets an expectation of gender competition that doesn’t exist. It also denies her acquired wisdom and perspective on this very important topic.

In spite of the title of her book ‘Manning UP: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys’, Hymowitz doesn’t pit men and women against each other in her essay or in her taped interview.

Acknowledging the huge influence of the women’s movement on men’s lives, this authority on American family life spends more time talking about the challenges for today’s young people living in a global economy then she does typical Conservative arguments that American women have emasculated American men.

Another factor in the lengthening of the road to adulthood is our increasingly labyrinthine labor market. The past decades’ economic expansion and the digital revolution have transformed the high-end labor market into a fierce competition for the most stimulating, creative and glamorous jobs. Fields that attract ambitious young men and women often require years of moving between school and internships, between internships and jobs, laterally and horizontally between jobs, and between cities in the U.S. and abroad. The knowledge economy gives the educated young an unprecedented opportunity to think about work in personal terms. They are looking not just for jobs but for “careers,” work in which they can exercise their talents and express their deepest passions. They expect their careers to give shape to their identity. For today’s pre-adults, “what you do” is almost synonymous with “who you are,” and starting a family is seldom part of the picture.

Hymowitz does acknowledge that men are confused about their gender roles, and she speaks of the same reality scoped out this week in the new Pew Research Survey on American attitudes about social change in America.

Like me, Kay Hymowitz appears to be a Skeptic, acknowledging that increasing numbers of women are outperforming men and that many women can ‘go it alone’. We are reluctant to say that men are irrelevant and know that most research on children’s lives says that kids do better in a two-parent household.

I haven’t read enough of Hymowitz to know where she stands on critical issues that are important to me. In referencing women who decide not to have children in her interview, she seems to allow for a wide variety of goals in today’s young women and men.

Like most Conservatives — and Independents and Liberals, too — like most thoughtful people, Kay Hymowitz considers the future of the family in America and argues that we must understand that civic responsibility involves more than finding a romantic soulmate.

She also argues for an interdependency between the sexes without suggesting that women should defer to men. We have a complex social stew in America these days, but Manhattan Institute scholar Kay S. Hymowitz is one woman I will be reading in an effort to understand a thoughtful female Conservative voice who gets beyond the sound bites designed to inflame the worst fears of some American women.

It’s been a very bad week for the rhetoric and what I view are strong-armed actions against American women as a group. I fear for my life around arch Conservatives these days. Hymowitz calms me to a point where I want to understand her point of view and assume we have much common ground. Anne

(Note: there is an extensive list of online articles by Hymowitz on this link.)

Key Graphs in WSJ article

Sources: US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, UN Economic Commission for Europe